Putting family, friends, donors & corporate special interests before you

As part of the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s “Sununu Reality Check” accountability project, we will be highlighting the ways in which Chris Sununu’s out-of-touch policies benefit his friends, family, donors, and corporate special interests instead of average Granite Staters. Each day this week, we will address one of the project’s five areas of concern.

Today’s focus is on Sununu’s ethical struggles:

“Governor Sununu’s behavior shows he is eager to reward the people who helped make him governor at the expense of Granite Staters who depend on him.” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Wyatt Ronan. “From tapping friends and donors to high-up government positions to paying for private events with inaugural money to defending President Trump’s worst behavior, it couldn’t be clearer that Sununu is beholden to his friends and family, donors and the corporate special interests that helped him get elected. That’s not fair to the average Granite Stater who doesn’t have the wealth or status to earn the governor’s ear.”

See below for a reality check on Chris Sununu’s record of questionable ethics:

Sununu packs administration with friends & donors

 With his various agency nominations, Governor Sununu has proven that he’s more interested in putting his friends in high places than he is in running a well-oiled state government. Sununu’s first Department of Environmental Services nominee Peter Kujawski admitted that he and the governor discussed positions at the DRED, Labor and DCYF before settling on the DES. Sununu handed Kujawski, a donor and family friend, carte blanche with the New Hampshire Executive Branch, but not before potentially misusing his position to offer Kukjawski a vice president position at a private company relocating to New Hampshire. Kujawski is not Sununu’s only political pick. He also tapped his former political rival Frank Edelblut as Education Commissioner, Charlie Arlinghaus – a longtime partner at the Josiah Bartlett Center chaired by Sununu’s brother – to run the Department of Administrative Services, and ousted longtime respected Chair of the New Hampshire Board of Education Tom Raffio, replacing him with conservative Union Leader columnist and Josiah Bartlett Center interim president Drew Cline.

Lack of transparency

Governor Sununu ducked the press twice in one week, once for a press conference in Canada and again to jet down to Washington D.C. for a “private, non-political event,” which he paid for with inaugural committee funds. Sununu has also closed the doors to press four times during visits by the Trump administration, twice in one visit by Kellyanne Conway and HHS Secretary Tom Price, again as Kellyanne Conway addressed a closed-press crowd at a New Hampshire Republican Party fundraiser this past spring, and yet again when former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski headlined a close-door Republican fundraiser this fall. The governor also used his official Twitter account to promote his family business, Waterville Valley ski resort, a company at which his father sits as chairman of the board. The Executive Branch Ethics Committee says Sununu’s family business promotion “may have merit.”

Praise for Trump

Governor Sununu’s favorite pastime is defending President Trump’s indefensible. The day after Trump’s “many sides” comment on the Charlottesville terrorist attack, Governor Sununu defended Trump, saying his comment was a sufficient condemnation. Unsurprisingly, Sununu met with the far-right Rochester 9/12 group one day later. This group was founded by the currently imprisoned right hand man of racist militiaman Cliven Bundy, and is currently run by former NHGOP Chair Jack Kimball. In response to the Charlottesville attack, Kimball defended the terrorist, essentially calling it self-defense. Then-candidate Sununu also chose to stand by Trump after the Hollywood Access Tape and even after Trump called New Hampshire a “drug-infested den.”